Friday, January 22, 2010

Knights on Harleys

I stated right from the beginning that I would not be taking part. Riding pillion,that is, on Harley Davidsons. My days of riding on motorbikes are over, having done my time clinging to the backs of an assortment of young men riding an assortment of bikes ....

Harleys, I am told, are different.

There are two wonderful people who live in Twee Riviere who have a clutch of sons (and a daughter in law) who came riding into town, bringing with them a few of these gleaming silver speed machines.
They kindly offered to give all the children in Twee Riviere a spin. It kept them busy for a couple of hours!

We all gathered outside Mannies (the local Portuguese cafe) and they rode up. They were like three Knights, with a cross on a shield emblazoned on the back of their leather waistcoats.They were like Crusaders of old on silver steeds, leather tassles like manes streaming out as they cruised by.
We gathered under a windswept tree and the children took turns. Jethro decided he was not going to ride, being too cool, at fifteen, to clutch onto the back of anyone, whilst all and sundry looked on. But even he could not resist the allure of the Harleys, swopping his bowler hat ( the latest thing) for a 'piss pot' helmet and roaring off, clinging, despite himself. He came back with red stinging eyes, heart racing. I guess that man showed him a thing or two about mothers heart didn't really want to know.

Georgia wanted only to ride on the red one, and I was glad, eyeing the extra safe helmet that went with that ride, and she too whizzed off, white teeth gleaming. Some of the fathers went as well. One farmer friend was unforgettable, with helmet perched, shorts riding high and gum boots! Lex chose not to, remembering instead his days of cruising boulevards on a Harley, racing motorbikes, and could not bring himself to cling on this time. He stood and admired the sleek machines,talking wheels and spokes and other Harley details.

Some teenage girls rode again and again, my heart beating for them as they arrived back exihilarated each time, emotional even, hugging one other with the pure joy, the bliss of experiencing speed. It brought back a time, long ago when I experienced the Cape Peninsula for the first time, riding on the back of a Kawasaki 1000, swooping through passes and clifftops with the big, wide ,thousand stars sea stretching out alongside us. I spread my arms wide as we sailed though yellow wheatfields, me laughing because it was warm, and my t-shirt was billowing and I felt free. I was young and I felt free.

That's what motorbikes do, isn't it? They do that feeling free thing.
I am afraid now, because I am older, and wiser and I had some close calls on bikes, and even had some wild and free friends who didn't quite make it . But, I keep those thoughts to myself here, outside Mannies, because these Harleys sound like nothing else, don't they?

Standing there, Lex says its like the Wendy House in Joburg on a Saturday night, because all this power and speed is becoming infectious. Cars are coming from everywhere, and as they pass our gathering they are picking up speed, revving even.One young man cruises past in his left hand drive V8, and excelerates as he passes. The same man goes home and brings out his motorbike, nearly popping a wheelie for our excited throng. We are surrounded by sound, speed and power. Its addictive. Even Mannie abandons his till to ride, to ride, to ride.

As true Knights, towards the end the riders bring out bags of sweets and sugar is added to the adrenalin all round . Grins are wide on all faces. Another car, yellow, sporty swings around the corner, wheels spinning and squealing. One Knight, astride his steed, pointed boots on tar says 'Ons het rerig nou Twee Riviere ge - kick start!'
Hey, how cool is that?

1 comment:

  1. Ha Ha haaa.....beautiful, I can totally picture it.